These pan seared scallops are cooked to tender perfection before being served over a cheesy Parmesan cauliflower rice risotto. A refreshing citrus vinaigrette is drizzled on top to round out the delicious flavors. This recipe follows the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) and is gluten free, grain free, added sugar free, soy free, and low lactose.
One of my favorite things to do (in terms of food) is to take a meal I enjoyed prior to my illness and turning it into something that fits my current dietary needs. That's how this dish came about!
One of my all-time favorite restaurants is Ocean Prime, and they have an incredible sea scallop entree on their menu that comes with a creamy risotto and refreshing vinaigrette. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
I knew it was a meal I absolutely needed to make at home, and let me tell you...you're going to be REAL impressed with yourself after whipping this thing up! It's simple enough to make but looks so elegant.
This is a great meal to serve your family (my kids devoured it) or to have as a little romantic night in with your significant other.
how to make the parmesan cauliflower rice risotto
In this recipe, risotto is swapped out for cauliflower rice. If you're a regular on my site then you know that I have a pretty big obsession with cauliflower, I mean, it can transform into almost anything! It's AMAZING!
If you've never heard of cauliflower rice, I'll give you a super quick explanation on how to make it.
Cut the florets off a head of cauliflower and place them in a blender or food processor and pulse until they're the size of rice. You could also grate the head of cauliflower on a box grater.
While both options are fine, my absolute favorite way to get cauliflower rice is (drum roll please)... to buy it in the frozen food section of your local grocery store! They sell it at Wal-Mart, Publix, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Target...literally everywhere! Just check that the ONLY ingredient listed is cauliflower.
Add peas to the skillet, fresh or frozen will work, before tossing some cheese in there. Not just any cheese. Delicious, salty, freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
I put one heaping cup of cheese in my "risotto" because well, can you ever have enough cheese? I don't think so!
Allow the Parmesan cauliflower rice risotto to simmer until the cheese is all melted and the peas are tender. YUM!
Is the citrus vinaigrette necessary?
Yep! The vinaigrette adds a light and refreshing flavor to the dish and compliments the pan seared scallops and cauliflower rice risotto perfectly. In my opinion the dish tastes incomplete without it.
how to make the citrus vinaigrette
While the cauliflower rice risotto is simmering on the stove, go ahead and get started on the citrus vinaigrette.
It's so easy to make! Place all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake until well combined...that's it!
Please, please, please use FRESHLY squeezed lemon and orange juice for the vinaigrette, don't buy that bottled stuff! Freshly squeezed juice is going to make all the difference!
You'll probably end up with more vinaigrette then you'll need, which isn't a big deal. Use the leftovers to drizzle over a salad or you can use it as a marinade for chicken.
How to make the pan seared scallops recipe
If you have frozen scallops, make sure they're completely defrosted before searing them. Place the frozen scallops in a large bowl of cold water for a fast, last minute defrost.
Peel that tough strip of muscle (it looks like a little leg) off of each scallop and throw away.
Then pat both sides of the scallops dry using a paper towel. These guys are gonna go into a piping hot saute pan with oil and butter.
TIPS FOR COOKING SCALLOPS:
- Make sure the scallops are completely dry or you won't be able to get that beautiful sear on them.
- Don't crowd them in the pan.
- Once the scallops are in the pan, DON'T TOUCH THEM! Let them cook for about 2 minutes before flipping them. They should lift easily off the pan, if they don't then continue to cook.
- Scallops cook very quickly so keep an eye on them. If the scallops taste dry and rubbery, that means they were overcooked.
Pile your plate high with Parmesan cauliflower rice risotto, place your pan seared scallops on top and drizzle the whole thing with the citrus vinaigrette. Now, go enjoy this fancy meal in the comfort of your own home!
Here's some more dinner inspiration!
- Zucchini Cannelloni with a Butternut Squash Filling
- Seared Mahi Mahi with Strawberry Mint Salsa
- Zucchini Pizza Crust
- Roasted Beetroot Pasta Sauce
If you’ve made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below! This is the best way you can help support me and my website!
This post was originally published May 29, 2018. It was updated in February 2020.
Pan Seared Scallops with Parmesan Cauliflower Risotto and Citrus Vinaigrette
Parmesan Cauliflower Risotto
- 4 cups cauliflower rice
- 1 cup vegetable broth or chicken stock
- 1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 pound scallops (about 10 to 20 depending on size)
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- salt and pepper
Parmesan Cauliflower Risotto
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the cauliflower rice. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the broth to the skillet and bring to a boil. Drop the heat to low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes before adding the frozen peas, sea salt, and Parmesan cheese.
- Continue simmering for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the peas are tender. Serve warm.
- Place all ingredients for the vinaigrette in a mason jar or any container with a lid. Shake until ingredients are well combined.
- If using frozen scallops, make sure they are defrosted before cooking. Peel off the tough strip of muscle on the side of each scallop. Use a paper towel to pat the scallops dry on both sides, then season with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the scallops, one at a time, to the skillet. Allow to cook undisturbed for 2 minutes before using a metal spatula to gently flip them over. Cook for another 2 minutes until just cooked through.
- Spoon the cauliflower risotto onto your plates. Place the scallops on the risotto and drizzle with the citrus vinaigrette. Sprinkle fresh parmesan on top if you'd like. Serve warm.
- The vinaigrette recipe will probably yield more than you'll need. Save the leftovers to use in salads OR use the leftovers as a marinade for chicken.